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WEDNESDAY      December 1, 1999     SECTION TWO      vol 10, no. 228

To print out entire text of today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE

The Vatican's second man in charge is Italy's Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the learned Secretary of State

    Our one-hundred-twenty-ninth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is the 72 year-old Italian Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who has been in this vital post since Pope John Paul II appointed him a day after elevating him to the cardinalate during the Consistory of June 28, 1991. For more on Cardinal Angelo Sodano, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

129.   Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Appreciation of God's Gift of Religion

part one

    Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We begin today a two-parter on Religion and the End of Man how God in His Infinite Wisdom created man with a purpose so that man and woman could be happy in this world and even happier with Him in the next. For the sixty-first installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

Religion and the End of Man

part one

with a Catholic slant



Optimistic About Resolution to Nazareth Mosque Issue as Kofi Annan Addresses Crisis on International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

    BEIRUT, NOV 29 (ZENIT).- Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches, ended a 2-day visit to Beirut today, which was organized to celebrate 50 years of Pontifical Mission activity in favor of Palestinian refugees.

    The Mission, which also has offices in Amman and Jerusalem, was created by Pius XII in 1949, a year after the birth of the State of Israel, and following the first war between Arabs and Israelis.

    The Mission's principal task is to help Palestinian refugees. Over the years, however, the Beirut office has also coordinated aid to the Lebanese, especially during the civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990). Once the Lebanese conflict was over, the Mission collaborated in the reconstruction of infrastructures and worked for the return of refugees.

    Meeting with reporters in Beirut, Cardinal Silvestrini spoke about the Holy Father's trip to the Holy Land, and expressed the hope that tensions will ease between Christians and Muslims in Nazareth, which have been exacerbated recently by the proposal to construct a mosque in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation. The Cardinal believes that the climate could change, because the Muslims in Nazareth are showing "good will." He also confirmed that "work continues" on preparations for John Paul II's trip to Iraq.

    Meanwhile in New York yesterday, U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan appealed to both Israelis and Palestinians to be conscious of the frailty of the peace process in the Middle East, and to halt all actions that could endanger it, referring specifically to border issues, Israeli settlements, Palestinian refugees, water rights and the future of the city of Jerusalem.

    Kofi Annan gave this address on the "last International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians of the 20th century," which was decreed by the United Nations and is being celebrated today. The Secretary General expressed the hope that one of the first achievements in the new century will be the long-awaited peace and prosperity for Israelis, Palestinians and all peoples of the Middle East.

    "I am pleased to praise both Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel as well as Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestine Authority for their courage and wisdom in pursuing peace and reconciliation," Annan said. The U.N. Secretary General lamented that there are still difficulties, which constitute obstacles to progress in the peace process.

    The Day of Solidarity was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1977, to mark the anniversary of its November 29, 1947 resolution that divided Palestine into an Arab state and Jewish state, a decision that was rejected by the Arab countries. ZE99112907 and ZE99112903


Visits Children and Community in Roman Parish

    VATICAN CITY, NOV 29 (ZENIT).- The one impression John Paul II left with parishioners of Pope St. Innocent I, an outlying parish in the north sector of Rome yesterday morning, is that we are beginning a very special Jubilee. The Pope left the Vatican early in the morning, to visit this very lively parish.

    The first to nod their assent to the Holy Father's words were the children, who received the Holy Father at 9 a.m., and who encouraged them to "guard your purity always," in a time of "a crisis of values."

    The youngest children sang a song in Polish, because "in the land you left so many years ago, no doubt you left a piece of your heart," 10-year old Andrea said. The Pope appreciated the children's effort, and told them he likes to learn languages, so that he can "visit many countries," the lands of peoples who will come to Rome because of the Holy Year, which is already at our door.

    "This year there is a more important reason that adds meaning and depth to the call to start on the road of Advent with enthusiasm," the Pope said during the homily. Because, as he reminded the congregation, this road will end "on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, when the much anticipated opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter's and in the Basilica of St. John Lateran will take place."

    The Holy Father thanked this parish for the work accomplished for the Jubilee and, addressing the faithful of his diocese, said: "Christian Rome, do not hesitate to open the doors of your homes to pilgrims. Exercise fraternal hospitality with joy. The city and diocese of Rome will be able to welcome the pilgrims who will come from all parts of the world for the Jubilee, only if they know how to open their mind and heart to the ineffable mystery of the Word who became flesh."

    For the Pope Christmas is not an anniversary, but something far more profound: a "meeting," he said at the end of his visit with the youth of the parish. "The night of Bethlehem is meeting the Son of God, meeting Jesus." ZE99112910


    VATICAN CITY, NOV 29 (ZENIT).- John XXIII will probably be the first and only Pope to be beatified in the year 2000. According to news circulating in Italian news agencies yesterday, John XXIII's process of beatification, begun 34 years ago by his successor Paul VI, is coming to its conclusion. The next official step -- which is considered imminent, is the promulgation of the decree on the heroic virtues of the "good Pope" by John Paul II, who needs the approval from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This Vatican office has rigorously examined all the documents and testimonies relating to the life and work of Pope Roncalli.

    Meanwhile ZENIT interviewed the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints about the new beatification and canonization process established by John Paul II who, during his pontificate has canonized 296 saints, a figure that beats all records in the Church's history.

    In an interview with Vatican Radio, Portuguese Archbishop Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, explained how the procedures in the causes of canonization have evolved, allowing for this increase.

Q - What is the recent history of beatifications and how have they changed over the years?

ARCHBISHOP SARAIVA: The procedure in the Causes of Saints was given organic structuring in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Later it underwent some changes. For example, Pius XI instituted the Historic Section for the Oldest Causes; Paul VI unified the diocesan phase with the apostolic, establishing only one process for the collecting of proofs of life, virtues, martyrdom and miracles. Later, Vatican Council II appreciated the need for more ample reform, which would keep episcopal collegiality in mind, and progress in technological sciences. The present Pontiff has tried to respond to this need with the 1983 reform, which provides for two phases.

Q - Could you explain how the beatification and canonization process is carried out?

ARCHBISHOP SARAIVA: In the first [phase] -- the diocesan, the bishop of the territory where the servant of God died (as a candidate for the glory of the altars is referred to), evaluates above all the candidate's reputation of sanctity in the people's eyes, to see if this fame is based on genuine sanctity of life and works. Once this information is confirmed, he proceeds to collect the writings and all the documentation relating to the person and activity of the servant of God. Later, with the Holy See's 'nihil obstat' a special tribunal is established to gather the testimonies of those who knew the servant of God. All the acts, documents and testimonials are then sent to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which -- in this second phase, makes a thorough study to confirm if the servant of God lived the Christian virtues to a heroic degree, or if his death can be considered as a real martyrdom, or if the alleged miracle is really an inexplicable event by natural laws. These examinations are carried out by theological consultants and then by cardinals and bishops, who are members of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Their judgment is then referred to the Pope who -- if he considers it opportune, ratifies the canonization.

Q - What is the essential difference between a beatification and a canonization?

ARCHBISHOP SARAIVA: The purpose of beatifications and canonizations consists in conferring the possibility of offering liturgical worship to the servants of God. But between these two proclamations there is an important difference. With beatification the Pope permits limited worship in particular places and communities, for example, in a diocese or religious Order. With canonization, the Holy Father prescribes that a Blessed be venerated as a Saint by the whole Church. In addition, canonization is a definitive judgment, unchangeable, on the sanctity of a person and it is a pronouncement that involves the Pope's supreme authority, touching on the pontifical dogma of infallibility. It is an opinion that is virtually agreed by all Catholic theologians. ZE99112906 and ZE99112901


    VATICAN ( -- In an interview published on November 30 by the Italian daily Avvenire, the leader of East Timor's Catholic population said that while "pardon is important," it is essential for the people to see justice done in the aftermath of the massacres in that land.

    Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo of Dili, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1996, told Avvenire: "One cannot close one's eyes in the face of all that destruction." He pointed out that many thousands of people had been killed in an orgy of violence after the elections that brought victory to the independence movement of East Timor.

    Bishop Belo criticized the world's leaders for waiting too long to step in, and thus allowing a tragedy to occur in East Timor. "On several occasions I asked for the international community to send a multinational force," he recalled; "but no one budged until it became evidence that they would have to intervene to stop the massacres."

    When it did finally come, the international force did restore "peace and tranquility" to the land, the bishop reported. However, the people of East Timor must still confront the back-breaking task of rebuilding their society. "Everything has been destroyed," Bishop Belo said. "In East Timor, you cannot find a nail or a brick to rebuild your house. We have no houses, no schools, no work, no medicine. We lack everything."

    The Catholic Church remains vital and active in East Timor, the bishop reported, despite the destruction of many church buildings and parish facilities. "We have already begun our own Jubilee: a jubilee of suffering and death," he said. "But it will also be a jubilee of hope." The Church, he said, "is always on the side of the people."

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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December 1, 1999 volume 10, no. 228  DAILY CATHOLIC